Who Were The Assassins: ‘Squeaky’ and Sara Jane

Who Were the Assassins: Lynette Fromme and Sara Jane Moore
Who Were the Assassins: Lynette Fromme and Sara Jane Moore

Introducing some Would-be Assassins

In addition to the handful of successful Presidential assassinations, American history has its fair share of un-successful attempts. Today we highlight two characters from history (and our show) who didn’t get the job done in remarkably similar fashion.

Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme & Sara Jane Moore

Attempted to assassinate President Gerald Ford

Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme and Sara Jane Moore both attempted to assassinate President Gerald Ford in September of 1975, just 17 days apart. They did not know each other, and neither of them succeeded.

Lynette Fromme was a devotee of famed murderer and cult leader Charles Manson. As a teenager, she ran away from home and met the charismatic, mysterious Manson, who had just been released from one of his many stays in prison. She felt an immediate connection with the doom-saying, drugged out mystic, and became the second ever member of the Manson Family. Though she was never charged for the Tate and LaBianca murders that made Manson a household name, she defended Manson publicly during and after his trial, and continued to live her life at the margins of society- narrowly avoiding charges for another California murder in 1972.

The arrest of Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme

In 1975, she donned a red robe and approached President Ford in a Sacramento Park, getting close to him in a crowd of people hoping to shake hands. She produced a gun from her robe, and, according to witnesses, attempted to fire it. The gun did not go off. In the years since, she has claimed that she purposefully did not chamber a round, though she did have other bullets in the magazine. During her trial she stated that she wanted to defend the natural world from the industrial forces that were destroying it, saying that she “came to get life. Not just my life but clean air, healthy water, and respect for creatures and creation.”

Newsweek cover featuring an image of Lynette Fromme being apprehended

Just seventeen days after Fromme’s attempt on the President’s life, Sara Jane Moore attempted to kill Ford in San Francisco- this time with a gun that did go off. Moore’s recently purchased handgun had an incorrectly calibrated sight, which caused her to miss the President by just six inches. Moore had been a political leftist, as well as an FBI informant spying on those same groups. At different times, she gave different reasons for her assassination attempt. Most recently, she claimed that her attempt on the President’s life was a gesture of protest against the Vietnam War and an attempt to inspire a political revolution against the conflict.

Both Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme and Sara Jane Moore were paroled after serving more than three decades in prison, and are still alive to this day.

For further reading/listening:

Meet our “Squeaky” – Maddie Levy

Maddie Levy

Maddie will make her Landmark debut as Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme in Assassins. Some of her favorite credits include 9-1-1 on FOX, ABC’s The Middle, How the Grinch Stole Christmas at the Pantages theatre, and Les Miśerables at the Hollywood Bowl with the world famous LA Phil Harmonic.

Meet our Sara Jane Moore – Emily Morgan

Emily Morgan

Emily returns to the Landmark stage as Sara Jane Moore in Assassins. Audiences will recognize Emily from her appearances in WorkingLittle Shop of HorrorsSpamalotHunchback of Notre Dame, and in one of her favorite roles as Shwartzy in the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

Tickets On Sale Now

Tickets On Sale Now

Landmark is proud to announce that tickets for our upcoming production of Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins are now on sale. The Spring of Sondheim continues with our production opening April 28.

Now through April 2, get 20% off opening weekend with the promo code “EarlyBird”

Get 20% off with code 'earlybird'

Opening April 28 for a 3-week run, Assassins is a darkly comedic musical by Stephen Sondheim that illuminates the stories of a number of historical figures who attempted (successfully or not) to assassinate American Presidents. Inside the frame of an all-American, yet sinister, carnival, Assassins is a scathing indictment of the “American Dream”, and the alienation that comes from its impossible pursuit. In a world where discontent simmers in the American psyche, we examine nine hauntingly complicated protagonists as they attempt to convince us that all you have to do is “shoot to win”.

As part of the Spring of Sondheim in Southern California, Assassins has been made extremely current by Sondheim’s recent passing and the timing of our production – as the political machinery of yet another American Presidential election is ramping up.

Who Were The Assassins: Leon Czolgosz

Introducing The Assassins (and Would-be Assassins)

The characters in Stephen Sondheim’s musical are drawn from American history. Many are memorable names and figures, but some may be surprisingly un-familiar. Over the next few weeks, we will be highlighting the historical characters from Assassins for our audience as we are preparing our upcoming production.

Leon Czolgosz

Assassinated President William McKinley

Leon F. Czolgosz was an American laborer and anarchist of Polish decent who assassinated President William McKinley on September 6, 1901. Raised in Cleveland, he held a succession of menial jobs, including grueling employment at a bottle factory, before committing himself to anarchism.

Czolgosz attended the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, where he waited in a receiving line and shot the President twice in the abdomen at point-blank range. A man standing behind Czolgosz struck him in the neck and knocked the gun out of his hand. The police struggled to keep the angry crowd off Czolgosz, but he was apprehended and taken to jail. He was subsequently tried, convicted, and executed seven weeks later.

Czolgosz believed there was great injustice in American society due to the structure of government. He was dismayed by the inequality he saw, which allowed the wealthy to enrich themselves by exploiting the poor. Czolgosz was impressed after hearing a speech by the anarchist Emma Goldman (also a Character in Assassins) in 1901. After the speech, Czolgosz approached Goldman and asked her for reading recommendations. Emma Goldman was later arrested on suspicion of being involved in the assassination, but was released due to insufficient evidence. She later published “The Tragedy at Buffalo” as a defense of Czolgosz.

Czolgosz’s last words were: “I shot the president because I thought it would help the working people and for the sake of the common people. I am not sorry for my crime.”

More Reading

Meet our Czolgosz – Owen Lovejoy

Owen Lovejoy portrays Leon Czolgosz in Landmark’s production of Assassins. Audiences will recognize Owen from his past performances as Quasimodo in Hunchback of Notre Dame and William Barfée in the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

The Spring of Sondheim

The Spring of Sondheim

Stephen Sondheim, one of the most important figures in 20th-century musical theater, passed away in November of 2021 – but his presence is looming large throughout Southern California this Spring.

Sondheim’s career began in the 1950’s as the lyricist for West Side Story and spanned nearly 7 decades of prolific and groundbreaking work in the musical theater.

This spring in the Los Angeles area, audiences can experience a broad range of Sondheim’s work, punctuated here in Long Beach by Landmark’s upcoming production of Assassins, opening at the end of April.

Productions in the LA area

There are a multitude of opportunities to experience Sondheim this Spring, including right now. Pasadena Playhouse is the anchor, with their 6-month “Sondheim Celebration”, that includes productions, concerts, and events.

Note: Pasadena Playhouse created a wonderful primer for audiences: An Audience’s Guide to Sondheim

Sunday in the Park with George

Sunday in the Park with George at Pasadena Playhouse

This production closes this weekend, so you’ll have to hurry… but it’s well worth it. This is a rare chance to see Sondheim’s gorgeous show about George Seurat and the “art of making art”. The Pasadena Playhouse production has received glowing reviews and is a perfect show for their stately and majestic theater.

Into the Woods

Into the Woods at The Ahmanson

This June, direct from Broadway, the critically acclaimed and much beloved production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Tony-winning triumph is coming to the Ahmanson with its Broadway stars to boot. This revival has been getting raves since it started as a limited engagement a few years ago.

A Little Night Music

A Little Night Music at Pasadena Playhouse

Pasadena Playhouse continues its Sondheim Celebration with the Tony-winner for Best Musical –  A Little Night Music.This show, which includes the ever-famous “Send In The Clowns”, is a sumptuous, sexy, laugh-out-loud masterpiece. The Pasadena production will be running on a similar timeline as Landmark’s own…


Landmark will extend the SoCal focus on Sondheim by bringing this powerful Sondheim work to Long Beach, opening April 28. Inside the frame of an all-American, yet sinister, carnival, Assassins illuminates the stories of a number of historical figures who attempted (successfully or not) to assassinate American Presidents. After a major revival in New York last year, and with yet another American Presidential election cycle on the verge of ramping up, this production could not be more timely and the issues more current.

Tickets on sale next week! Stay tuned for updates…

And… Into the Woods!

Our Artistic Director Megan O’Toole is currently directing Into the Woods at Wilson High School. The show runs March 23-25th at 7pm and March 26th at 2pm at Wilson High School and tickets are available at the door.

Into the Woods at Wilson High School